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DIN VDE 0826-2: A Standard for Fire Alarm Systems in Special Buildings
Fire safety is a crucial aspect of any building, especially those that have a high risk of fire or a high number of occupants. Fire alarm systems are designed to detect and warn people of fire hazards, as well as to activate fire protection measures. However, not all fire alarm systems are the same. Depending on the type and use of the building, different standards and regulations may apply.
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One of the standards that is relevant for fire alarm systems in Germany is DIN VDE 0826-2. This standard specifies the requirements for fire alarm systems (BAS) for nurseries, homes, accommodation facilities and similar uses. In this article, we will explain what this standard is, why it is important, and how to implement it.
What is DIN VDE 0826-2?
DIN VDE 0826-2 is a German pre-standard that was released in July 2018 by the VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies. It is part of the VDE Specifications Code of Safety Standards, which covers various aspects of electrical engineering, electronics and information technology.
The scope and purpose of the standard
The standard defines the requirements for the design and operation of systems for fire detection and local warning of people. The local warning is done by signaling devices, such as sirens or flashing lights. The triggering of the warning signals can be done by automatic detectors or manual call points.
The standard applies to systems that are required by building authorities or other approval bodies, unless otherwise specified by them. It also takes into account the conditions from the building permit, such as the fire protection concept or report.
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The main purpose of the standard is to ensure a high level of fire safety in buildings that have a special risk of fire or a special need for evacuation, such as:
Accommodation facilities (up to 60 beds)
Special forms of living for seniors and disabled people, if they are treated and classified according to the special building ordinance
The operation of the system must be coordinated with the organizational handling of the signals and the evacuation measures. The building regulations must also be observed.
The main requirements and specifications of the standard
The standard describes a system configuration with selected EN 54 components. EN 54 is a European standard series that specifies the requirements and tests for fire detection and fire alarm systems. The individual components have the performance details that are relevant for the protection goal.
The standard specifies the following aspects of the system:
The type and number of detectors and signaling devices
The location and installation of detectors and signaling devices
The wiring and power supply of detectors and signaling devices
The control and indicating equipment (CIE) and its functions
The interface with other systems, such as fire protection doors or ventilation systems
The alarm organization and evacuation plan
The inspection, testing and maintenance intervals and procedures
Why is DIN VDE 0826-2 important?
The benefits of complying with the standard
Complying with DIN VDE 0826-2 has several benefits for both the owners and users of the buildings. Some of the benefits are:
Reducing the risk of fire and its consequences, such as injuries, deaths, property damage and environmental impact
Improving the detection and warning of fire hazards, allowing for a faster and safer evacuation of people
Enhancing the coordination and communication between the system and other fire protection measures, such as fire doors or sprinklers
Increasing the reliability and performance of the system, ensuring that it works properly and effectively in case of fire
Meeting the legal and regulatory requirements, avoiding fines, penalties or lawsuits
Boosting the reputation and trust of the owners and users, demonstrating their commitment to fire safety and social responsibility
The examples of buildings that need the standard
As mentioned earlier, DIN VDE 0826-2 applies to buildings that have a special risk of fire or a special need for evacuation. Here are some examples of such buildings:
Nurseries are places where children under the age of six are cared for during the day. They are usually located in residential or commercial buildings, and may have different rooms for different age groups. Nurseries have a high risk of fire due to the presence of flammable materials, such as toys, furniture, bedding or curtains. They also have a high need for evacuation due to the vulnerability and mobility of the children, who may not be able to escape on their own or follow instructions.
Homes are places where people live permanently or temporarily. They can be single-family houses, apartments, condominiums or other types of dwellings. Homes have a high risk of fire due to the presence of various sources of ignition, such as cooking appliances, heating devices, candles or electrical equipment. They also have a high need for evacuation due to the possibility of sleeping or unaware occupants, who may not notice or react to a fire alarm.
Schools are places where students receive education from teachers. They can be primary schools, secondary schools, colleges or universities. Schools have a high risk of fire due to the presence of combustible materials, such as books, papers, posters or laboratory chemicals. They also have a high need for evacuation due to the large number and diversity of occupants, who may have different levels of knowledge and skills in fire safety.
Accommodation facilities are places where people stay overnight for various purposes, such as tourism, business or health care. They can be hotels, motels, hostels or guest houses. Accommodation facilities have a high risk of fire due to the presence of personal belongings, such as clothes, luggage or toiletries. They also have a high need for evacuation due to the unfamiliarity and unpredictability of the occupants, who may not know the layout or exits of the building.
Special forms of living for seniors and disabled people
Special forms of living for seniors and disabled people are places where people with special needs receive care and support from staff or relatives. They can be nursing homes, assisted living facilities or group homes. Special forms of living for seniors and disabled people have a high risk of fire due to the presence of medical equipment, such as oxygen tanks, wheelchairs or electric beds. They also have a high need for evacuation due to the physical and mental limitations of the occupants, who may not be able to move or communicate effectively.
The comparison with other standards and regulations
DIN VDE 0826-2 is not the only standard that applies to fire alarm systems in Germany. There are other standards and regulations that may be relevant depending on the type and use of the building. Some of them are:
Standard/Regulation Description Scope --- --- --- DIN 14675 A standard that specifies the requirements for planning, installation, operation and maintenance of voice alarm systems (VAS) Applies to buildings that require voice alarm systems according to building regulations DIN EN 54 A standard series that specifies the requirements and tests for fire detection and fire alarm systems Applies to all buildings that require fire detecti